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Friday, September 28, 2012

Sharing the Credit

Which is closer to your own view of what it means to be filled with the Spirit? Is it more of an individual or a corporate experience? How so? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1003).

I saw on a T-shirt today a saying that read: “I'm not antisocial, I just don't like you.” Whether we like it or not, people by nature are social animals. It becomes impossibly problematic to sort out exactly where social influence begins and ends. Take any creation or invention one cares to discuss; its true source is attributable not only to a lone individual, but to a wide matrix of historical and contemporary social influences and contributions. For example, we say that the Bible is God's word. That is true, but even the gospel was not entirely new. Jesus affirmed (not invented whole cloth) that we are to love one another—note the saying from Leviticus “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18). While each generation is rightfully proud of its creative contributions to the story of mankind, it must always remain appreciative of the groundwork prepared (often at great cost) by others.

The occasion at which I was most filled with the Spirit (the theater experience) while certainly personal was nevertheless profoundly corporate. The preparation for this experience began many years, even centuries, earlier. God's dealing with mankind historically made it tenable that he was dealing with me. A context of understanding always is underlain by the sacrifice and investment of others. It is in this light that it becomes readily admissible that whatever unique contribution to the human enterprise we are blessed to make, its source lies largely—if not completely—outside ourselves.

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